What drives people to torture animals


Zoosadism : is the pleasure derived from cruelty to animals.

Classification of animal abuse

There are two different types of animal abuse :-
1. Active abuse : Active form of abuse involves direct cruelty to animals. It is when an individual purposely tries to cause harm to an animal, like killing, torturing or beating it.
2. Passive abuse : includes lack of care or negligence towards pets. This happens as a result of inaction. Generally, it has been observed that such a situation arises when the pet owner is not aware of or does not bother to take proper care of the pet’s needs for food, shelter, medical attention etc.

Psychological Reasons
The activities related to intentional abuse have deep connections to some severe psychological problems. Surveys conducted on psychiatric patients reveal that people with psychopathic personality disorders have a tendency to torture pets and other small animals. This type of behavior is termed as zoosadism. It’s often found that children and adolescents who show cruelty towards their pet dogs and cats have actually undergone some abusive behavior themselves or have witnessed some forms of abuse.

Many killers start off with animal abuse
When the science of behavioural profiling began to emerge in the 1970s, one of the most consistent findings reported by the FBI was that childhood animal cruelty was a common behaviour among serial murderers and rapists – those with psychopathic traits characterized by impulsivity, selfishness, and lack of remorse.
Many notorious serial killers – such as Jeffrey Dahmer – began by torturing and killing animals in their childhood. Dahmer also collected animal roadkill, dissected the remains, and masturbated over the animals he had cut up. Other killers known to have engaged in childhood IATC include child murderer Mary Bell, who throttled pigeons, Jamie Bulger’s murderer Robert Thompson, who was cruel to household pets, and Moors murderer Ian Brady, who abused animals.

Why Do People Abuse Animals
Some people intentionally hurt animals because they enjoy hurting things, or because it makes them feel powerful. Many of these people would hurt other people if they could get away with it. They just choose to hurt animals because animals are more helpless than people.

Why do these people hurt animals?

There are different reasons. A lot of these people want to have control over others. They will hurt an animal because they think this means they control the animal. Or they may hurt the animal to control another person. For example, a husband might
hurt the family’s pet to show his wife what he could do to her if she doesn’t obey his commands.
Someone else might make his dog kill other dogs because he thinks that makes him powerful.
Others simply enjoy pain and violence. Those who enjoy violence might also destroy inanimate objects as well as animals and people.
All of the people in this last group suffer from serious, psychological problems that will probably not go away on their own. They often need the help of licensed professionals—like a psychologist. We are not 100% sure why people become like this—most are probably born with their problems, but others can get their problems from brain damage, poisonous influential environments, or by being treated badly themselves.
Without help, the psychological problems these people have can haunt them for their whole lives. If you know anyone who you think may be like this, don’t approach them yourself. Talk to a trusted adult, and let the adult find someone to help these people.

Brain’s empathic pathways
It turns out that just as recent brain-imaging studies have begun to reveal the physical evidence of empathy’s erosion, they are now also beginning to show definitive signs of its cultivation as well. A group of researchers led by Richard Davidson, a professor of psychiatry and psychology at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, published a study in a March 2008 edition of the Public Library of Science One, showing that the mere act of thinking compassionate thoughts caused significant activity and physical changes in the brain’s empathic pathways. “People are not just stuck at their respective set points,” Davidson has said of the study’s results. “We can take advantage of our brain’s plasticity and train it to enhance these qualities. . . . I think this can be one of the tools we use to teach emotional regulation to kids who are at an age where they’re vulnerable to going seriously off track.”

Neuroscientists  : are now beginning to get a fix on the physical underpinnings of empathy. A research team at the University of Chicago headed by Jean Decety, a neuroscientist who specializes in the mechanisms behind empathy and emotional self-regulation, has performed fMRI scans on 16-to-18-year-old boys with aggressive-conduct disorder and on another group of similarly aged boys who exhibited no unusual signs of aggression.
Each group was shown videos of people enduring both accidental pain, like stubbing a toe, and intentionally inflicted pain, like being punched in the arm. In the scans, both groups displayed a similar activation of their empathic neural circuitry, and in some cases, the boys with conduct disorder exhibited considerably more activity than those in the control group. But what really caught the attention of the researchers was the fact that when viewing the videos of intentionally inflicted pain, the aggressive-disorder teenagers displayed extremely heightened activity in the part of our brain known as the reward center, which is activated when we feel sensations of pleasure. They also displayed, unlike the control group, no activity at all in those neuronal regions involved in moral reasoning and self-regulation.
ref : Charles Siebert

Animal cruelty and psychiatric disorders.
Animal cruelty in childhood, although generally viewed as abnormal or deviant, for years was not considered symptomatic of any particular psychiatric disorder.
In the current study, investigators tested the hypothesis that a history of substantial animal cruelty is associated with a diagnosis of antisocial personality disorder (APD) and looked for associations with other disorders commonly diagnosed in a population of criminal defendants. Forty-eight subjects, criminal defendants who had histories of substantial animal cruelty, were matched with defendants without this history. Data were systematically obtained from the files by using four specifically designed data retrieval outlines. A history of animal cruelty during childhood was significantly associated with APD, antisocial personality traits, and polysubstance abuse. Mental retardation, psychotic disorders, and alcohol abuse showed no such association.
ref : J Am Acad Psychiatry Law. 2002;30(2):257-65. (Gleyzer R1, Felthous AR, Holzer CE 3rd)

Transcript of The Animal Cruelty Syndrome
“The Animal Cruelty Syndrome” pages 128-145 There is a direct link between those who abuse animals and those who commit violent crimes including domestic abuse, child abuse and murder.
ref : by Erin Hargis on 7 November 2012

What needs to happen
Animal abuse can be reduced to a great extent, if people stop treating animals as their personal property. They end up abusing animals more because of their attitude that animals are needed either as food or as companions or for entertainment. Animal rights is as important an issue as Human Rights, and the issue of animal abuse should be given its due importance by punishing people who abuse animals the same way that people who abuse other humans or kids are punished! Only then is there any hope of reducing, and eventually stopping animal abuse. As long as the perpetrators are allowed to roam free, and not made to account for their acts of violence or negligence towards these innocent creatures who look to them for love and care, there is no way this can be stopped.
Strict laws need to be put in place to protect these loving creatures who are at our mercy. The way we treat creatures which are at our mercy, reveals our true character. As Milan Kundera says in The Unbearable Lightness of Being, “Mankind’s true moral test, its fundamental test (which lies deeply buried from view), consists of its attitude towards those who are at its mercy: animals. And in this respect mankind has suffered a fundamental debacle, a debacle so fundamental that all others stem from it.”
There has long been a link between cruelty to animals and sociopathic behavior. This is something that parents and other adults should take very seriously if they see it happening. This behavior can lead to serious issues later in life. The animals of the world do not deserve to be treated inhumanely by an adult or a child, and children have to be taught to respect animals, as well as how to take care of them properly.


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